Luxury goods group LVMH will set up a manufacturing joint venture with eyewear manufacturer Marcolin to give it more control over its eyewear brands. The French licensor will own 51% of the venture, and Marconi the rest. The deal also involves LVMH taking a 10% stake in the Italian company.
Marcolin will begin manufacturing eyewear for the Celine and Louis Vuitton brands from 2018. The move mirrors that of LVMH rival Kering’s steps in 2014 to shift away from a licensing model, bringing its eyewear business in-house.
In the U.S./Canada, retail sales of licensed eyewear products grew 3.6% in 2015 to reach $4.75 billion. Worldwide, TLL estimates that global retail sales of the apparel/accessories/footwear category (which includes eyewear) grew 3.8% in 2015.
See more in the Licensing Data Bank Online.
Eyewear manufacturer Safilo is expected to suffer—the Italian company holds LVMH licenses worth $366 million, or over 25% of annual sales. It recently renewed a key Christian Dior license until 2020; its Celine license expires this year; and its deals for the Givenchy, Fendi, and Marc Jacobs brands were expected to expire between 2021–2024. CEO Luisa Delgado told Reuters that the group would be able to make up for the loss by expanding its own brands and striking new deals; the company does not expect to restructure.
Meanwhile, Luxottica—which holds the Bulgari license—expects little impact to its bottom line (licensed sales for the brand count for less than 1% of total sales). Luxottica announced its merger with lens producer Essilor earlier this year.